St Margaret’s, in Aberlour, will unveil the St Margaret of Scotland bottling at this May’s Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival. Just 260 bottles of the cask strength single malt from Auchroisk will be available, each signed and numbered. The whisky, chosen unanimously at a blind tasting by a panel of experts, celebrates the life of St Margaret and also honours the Speyside church, which was once the chapel for Aberlour Orphanage. All profits will go to St Margaret’s, which continues to be a lively place of worship. Born in about 1043, Margaret married King Malcolm III of Scotland and had considerable religious influence.

A Patron Saint of Scotland, she is also the Patron Saint of the homeless, orphans, insane, midwives, penitents, single mothers, reformed prostitutes, step children and tramps. The church itself was built between 1875 and 1879 to the design of Alexander Ross thanks to benefactor Margaret Macpherson Grant (local well to do family), who also funded the orphanage. She sadly died before the project was completed, but Charles Jupp, her personal chaplain, became the first rector of the church and warden of the orphanage. The orphanage, which was home to some 5000-6000 children, closed in 1967 and all the buildings were pulled down, except the church and clock tower.

Member Angus Findlay said: “With the departure of the children, the church lost most of its congregation. Many old boys and old girls, their relations and descendants visit St Margaret’s, the only part of their childhood home that survives. The small congregation believe that they owe it to them to keep this beautiful building in good order.” Just 260 bottles of St Margaret’s whisky will be up for grabs.

The tasting notes show luscious fruits on the nose. Hearty oak spice emerges to balance the initial sweetness, presenting a slowly drying, fruity finish with a hint of dried fruit and nut. Distilled in 2010 and matured in a bourbon cask, it was re racked in a port cask. The launch will take place at Craigellachie Village Hall on May 1. A bottle will then be auctioned at the whisky auction, also at the Craigellachie Hall, on Sunday, May 3.

My own thoughts, Paul; this seems to me to be a heavenly dram one which I would love to own. I do like the label design, methinks as this is a charity type release, Aberlour may have had something to do with helping? look at the bottle for a start. Then again, the dram is a Diageo. Am thinking here, my good friend Vic Cameron should be the one to hold the auction.  Who gets the angels share on this one? Dad! are you listening?  PAUL MCLEAN

Auchroisk Distillery  The character is produced by rapid mashing, quick fermentation and, rapid boiling regime (thanks Ingvar). This character shared with Blair Athol, another Diageo, is most obvious at new make but falls away with maturation, being replaced by a honeyed cereal sweetness (flora and forna).  Auchroisk the building, stands out a white boring building set in the moorland. Now here’s a new one to me; Auchroisk was first bottled as single malt in 1986 and was the first to carry the prefix ‘Singleton’, a name now attached to single malts from Glen Ord, Glendullan and Dufftown. The brand was dropped in 2001 and has slithered back into the shadows. Auchroisk is an industrial malt distillery that produces mostly for the J&B Blended Scotch whisky. Current owner Diageo 1997 – present. Previous owner Justerini & Brooks  1974 – 1997.